City efforts mitigate phosphorus in Shadow Lake
By Angie Landsverk
South Park’s shoreline is in the process of being restored.
“The first part of the shoreline restoration was restoring where the volleyball court was back to a wetland state,” said Aaron Jenson, the city of Waupaca’s parks and recreation director.
Last year, Waupaca High School students helped the city plant more than 600 native plant plugs in that area by the park’s lower shelter.
“Not mowing right up to a shoreline is a good practice,” Jenson said. “It acts as a buffer.”
The second phase of the project involves allowing native grasses to grow around the drainage ditch, which runs from Lakeside Parkway to Shadow Lake, he said.
That channel connects to the wetland area between High and Washington streets, and the city’s parks crew previously mowed the grass around the channel.
Now, that area will only be trimmed once or twice per summer, he said.
Jenson said the wetland area between High and Washington streets collects a large amount of the city’s runoff before going under Lakeside Parkway and then traveling through the channel and into Shadow Lake.
“The Friends of Mirror and Shadow Lakes’ Lake Management Plan marked that area as a priority to mitigate phosphorus and sediment from getting into Shadow Lake,” Jenson said. “When you allow vegetation to grow up (around the channel), it naturally filters out a portion of the phosphorus.”
He said an elevated level of phosphorus may result in unnatural algae growth in a lake.
Both Mirror and Shadow lakes have higher than ideal phosphorus levels, Jenson said.
He said the shoreline restoration project is the first, feasible step in helping to mitigate the level of phosphorus in Shadow Lake.
The city is also searching for grants to help improve the issue, he said.
Jenson said the city worked with Rettler Corporation, of Stevens Point, and Stantec to design the project. The city also worked with the friends group and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
“The parks staff takes a lot of pride in making sure the parks look good and usable,” he said. “We want the public to know there is a reason for leaving that area untouched.”
Signage posted in the area also explains the purpose of the project.
“It serves two purposes in the project,” Jenson said. “One is phosphorus mitigation and the second is an education piece.”